Just as the KZN coast was drying out, the rains hit again…Luckily the fishing is still pretty good across the board
Top tip: Coming into the winter season, the focus is falling more on edible fishing and less so on the giants of the deep.
Getting your sinker stuck is part of fishing in the rocks. The last thing you want is to lose your entire trace (and possibly your catch) if your sinker gets stuck. There are a few things you can do to combat this. The two main ways to prevent total loss is to either use a lighter sinker line and/or to shorten your sinker snood. Shortening your sinker snood (shorter than your hook snood) will prevent your sinker getting stuck while fighting the fish. Making your sinker snood out of a lighter nylon than your hook snood will allow you to part off your sinker and retrieve some of your tackle. Make sure that the sinker snood is strong enough to handle your cast but light enough to part off if need be.
The fishing offshore has been good. With some late season dorado, couta, snoek and tuna there is plenty to catch.
North – The north coast was hit hard by the rains but the fishing before was going very well. There have been some very good sized couta taken by both the boats and skis in the last few weeks. Bigger baits have been the most successful with bonito and walla-walla being the two best dead baits. As with all of the baits you troll, make sure the baits are tracking true and not spinning. A fish will not eat a bait that is spinning in circles.
Of the northern spots, salt rock has been particularly effective and would be my choice for the fishing skis.
Central – Snoek have been feeding well on the colour and current lines. There have been a lot of smaller baitfish around these colour lines which brings in all the predators. These areas can be fished in many different ways but spinning with a small spoon and light tackle is arguably the most exciting. Spoons fished on a lighter spinning setup retrieved with a fast pace will catch most species but is particularly effective for snoek.
South – The south coast has seen some early garrick already. These fish have been caught in the far south on live baits just behind the backline. These fish are best targeted with a 6/0 circle hook on some decent fluorocarbon.
The south coast has also seen some very good bottom fishing for all the usual big species. Unfortunately, the rains have washed a lot of brown water into the sea down south and fishing is going to take a while to recover
Rock and surf:
The rock and surf fishing has been very focussed on edible fish with some decent kob being caught. The rains have slowed down the fishing but there are still good fish to be caught.
North – The north coast has still seen some good inedible fishing with a couple of sandies and honeycombs testing knots and backs in the north. Blythedale and Zinkwazi have been the two most productive spots along the north coast. These spots have seen edibles and inedibles in most conditions.
On the edible side, chokka and prawn have been the best baits mentioned while the bigger shad have preferred sardines. There have also been plenty of spadefish around which love a white bait. Fishing has been best around rocks and particularly in bays that form some protection from the seas.
The inedibles have favoured mackerel and redeye as a bait. There have been some good sandies landed as well as some big flatfish. The sea has been a bit warm, but the northeast winds should help drop the temperature.
Central – The central coast has seen some good pompano and stumpies in the last few weeks. There are a number of baits that work for these fish, but it is important to focus on good bait presentation as they can be fussy feeders. Chokka and prawn is a personal favourite bait, but crabs and sea lice work very well as well. Try a 4/0 size hook and a longer hook snood to keep it natural.
The central coast has also had plenty of inedibles with some large rays and sharks being caught. The deeper points have been productive as they allow the angler to get the bait in to the deeper water. Mackerel has been the top producer.
South – The south coast has mainly been an edible fishing venue this past week. When the bigger seas come through, the south coast offers plenty of locations to duck away and find protection in the back bays and gullies. The area around Umkomaas has been particularly effective for kob. There have been a host of edible fish coming out on both fleshy and prawn baits. Chokka, sardine and prawns are the three baits to have in your box.
There has been bream, kob and some decent stumpies down south so pack your medium tackle and go have a jol with the scratching fish.
There have not been very many inedibles on the south coast reported. Look at the beaches and points that allow access to the deeper water and launch a bait deep sea.
The freshwater fishing is one to focus on as we move further into the cold of winter. The bigger carp will start feeding better, the bass still feed and the trout are hungry.
Bass – The bass fishing has been great in all the dams and smaller venues around KZN. Midmar and Nagle have been producing some fantastic bass fishing with those putting in the time on these venues bringing home full live wells. Spinnerbaits have been the best reported searching bait. In clean water, use the standard willow blades in silver with a white or chartreuse/white skirt. In the dirtier water, change the blades for Colorado blades in gold or orange with a chartreuse skirt. These little changes can make all the difference.
The guys fishing slower have done very well with frogs in the shallow back pockets. These are cast into the thickest structure using heavy braid. Otherwise, pitching jigs through the heavy cover has seen some big bites this past week.
Carp – The carp fishing has been consistent for the past few weeks. The smaller fish have kept most of the anglers busy in the dams. Albert falls has been fishing well for the carp guys with the new water levels opening up more fishing area. The flooded grass is a honey hole for the carp to feed in so placing your bait near these areas is always a good idea.
The specimen anglers have been fishing a lot of private waters with good success. Those fishing the public waters have reported success from both Nagle and Inanda. Boilies have been the bait of choice for the bigger fish with a bed of mixed particles proving to be a great attraction.
Trout – The Stillwaters have been fishing incredibly well the last few weeks. There have been some impressive fish taken from most of the higher altitude waters. The fish are going into the spawn so make sure to return as many fish as you can and to take care of the fish you catch.
Colours and flies to use at this time of year can be personal choice but orange is a great colour to have as an addition to your standard streamers. Try a woolly bugger with an orange bead.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “As mentioned in last week’s report, there was some wet stuff that made its appearance … and not only some, but rather a lot! Rainfall reports for the greater Midlands ranged from 30mm and up, with one report noting some 140mm for the weekend. No wonder Midmar Dam went from a slightly damp wall to gushing white water literally overnight…
We mentioned that it would a “damper on things”, and it sure did – there were no fishing returns listed from the Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) for the weekend, with a only couple brave souls venturing out on a couple of the Stillwater’s on Sunday when the weather started lifting. “Who dares, wins” as the adage goes, and these intrepid anglers managed to raise some fish, the cracker being a fish of around 50cm / 20 inches; just shy of the 2kg / 4.5lb mark. Great fish after a dismal weekend.
The weather system also dumped some serious snow on The ‘Berg (some 75cm recorded at Sani Top), which sent temperatures plummeting at the start of the week. This also kept anglers indoors, but with a better run of weather in the forecast for the week ahead, petty sure it won’t be long before the anglers are out again.
While we still have a week (at time to writing) left of river fishing before the river trout season closes for 3 months, I would suspect that the rivers took a proper hit with the weekends rainfall, and one might even go so far as to say that the season is (prematurely) closed. With no river reports coming in from the weekend, one cannot be sure of course, but if one is to make last run for it over the coming week, head upstream, probably as high as you can go for the best likelihood of finding some fishable running water.
No reports received from Midmar Dam, and apart from 2 absolute lunkers landed in the past week at Albert Falls Dam, the bass fishing has been a bit quiet. Out last week before the weather hit, Alistair Moores-Pitt landed a PB of 5.43kg / 12lbs and his biggest 5 fish bag ever at 19kg / 42lbs! Braving the cold and pouting rain of the weekend, Clifton Bridge also manged to pin a 5.4kg! Congrats gentlemen, those ae some proper numbers.
This weekend sees a Cast-for-Cash event being held at Albert Falls Dam, hosted by SA Bass Magazine and Major League Fishing. This is an open tournament, all welcome – for info on the event, contact 065 849 3264. Wishing all the anglers Tight Lines and looking forward to seeing the results next week.
Just as I started hearing mention from some local yellowfish (scaly) anglers about gearing up, that weather system rolled in and pretty much put paid to any ideas of getting out just yet. If that rains stay away now, and river levels drop and clear, there is some fantastic winter angling to be had, so keep your finger on the pulse and ears open for the 1st mentions
There have been a few late season yellowfish (small and largemouth) reports from Sterkfontein by guide Mark Yelland, but as guide David Weaver reports, it was a really tough season for a number of reasons, most notable for the high water … the highest Sterkfontein has had in its entire history. According to David, the high water has changed the dynamics of the dam, with the water now reaching new heights of bank and soil. Sterkies is well known for the clarity of water, but this has resulted in a fair amount of (new) erosion, causing the water to be dirty. The weather certainly hasn’t played ball, and the exceeding high number of overcast rainy days, the fish were inactive, swim deep and (very) difficult to catch. Fingers crossed for more sun days and a better season next year!
I mentioned that fly angler that was looking for a 9wt to target barbell – if you reading this, come and let me know…” Thanks Jan.
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